To Rummage or Not To Rummage? Thrifty Fashion Shopping

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Two interesting discussions I've had in a past few days, have been in relation to whether one likes to rummage or not when it comes to buying secondhand fashion. 

 :: Vintage Scarves at the Love Vintage Show ::

One discussion which began on an Australian facebook group, completely unrelated to secondhand shopping, which started with the following, in response to a photograph of another person's recent thrifty fashion find:  

"I like the idea of op-shopping, both the cheap and the re-cycling parts, but when it actually comes down to it, I do not like shopping enough to trawl through hundreds of old, faded, wrong size, wrong style clothes in order to find the 2 bargains that suit and fit me"

Another conversation I had in person with a lovely writer at a bloggers conference today mentioned that she buys her clothes second hand, but does not particularly enjoy haggling when shopping at pre loved markets, instead enjoying the anonymity of bidding for clothes on eBay.

I can understand from both perspectives, but have to admit that I do I love a good rummage, finding a gem in the rough.  To me, the thrill of the chase is part of the fun, perhaps more than finding a specific special branded item. 
 Pre-loved Clothing Purchases from Round She Goes Market

However, I do understand the rummage is certainly not for everyone, some are bothered by musty smells in thrift stores, others are put off my crowds at flea markets.  

To be brutally honest, I am not particularly fond of garage sales.  I won't say no to a garage sale, and have found a few bargains along my journeys, but I really don't enjoy rummaging amongst other people's unwanted goods in their own front yards, it feels rather odd and a little intrusive to me.  I find it particularly uncomfortable when I am the only person present at the garage sale, so make polite chit chat, and then almost feel obliged to buy something I don't really need, because I feel bad to walk away without anything.

:: Yard Sale Sign seen on Fork in My Eye ::

So going back to the comments I've heard recently, I get it, I really do.  In our time poor society, if we are going to buy secondhand clothing, we have to feel comfortable about doing so.

We're pretty lucky though, to have alternative options to the rummage if we choose not too; eBay and etsy are perfect examples of ways in which we can buy recycled fashion with the click of a button.  

We need not limit ourselves to musty op shops either; clothing swap events, consignment stores and vintage fashion retail stores require minimal haggling, and limited rummaging in between tit-tat.

And lets be honest, some of the larger chain recycled shops such as Salvos (Salvation Army) or Savers, do tend to be a little more organised, and easier to find clothing in your size and style than some of the smaller charitable shops.

:: Salvos Hampton ::

I am leading another op shop tour in a few weeks from now.  Usually, op shopping participants do not mind the type of shop we visit, but I do like to mix it up with smaller parish op shops (my personal favourites), with some of the larger chains for a different thrifty shopping perspective.

:: Op Shop Brighton ::

So my question to you readers, is whether you prefer to rummage in markets or smaller thrift stores, whether you prefer the comfort of shopping in larger thrift stores, consignment shops and vintage stores, or the anonymity of shopping for secondhand fashion online?

To rummage or not to rummage? that is the question!


PS. Please do check out our current giveaway of two amazing ethically made, fair trade t-shirts up for grabs from Humanitees.


Pull Your Socks Up! said...

I love a rummage, especially at flea markets where prices are negotiable, treasures hide at the bottom of boxes and suitcases and there are plenty of mad people to yak to. Sure I've scored plenty of fantastic stuff online, but the flea market buys have always been the most memorable purchases. When it comes to bricks and mortar, I can't afford vintage shops but I prefer fusty old op shops and church oppys anyway. Again, good or interesting memories and experiences. xo

photosarah said...

Three years ago, I never would have considered buying other people's old clothes. Then I moved to a place where there wasn't a whole lot of do and one of my good friends went to the thrift store (we had a really nice one) and yard sales all the time with her family and they'd been doing it for years. She showed me the ropes and before long I was going on my own. I've since moved to a new town, but I have the bug and the bargains can't be argued with. (I've found yard sales yield far better deals than stores.)

I also like rummage sales, where you just throw anything you think looks interesting in a bag and walk out with it all for one price.

I do think it helps to have a strategy when you go into a large store or a rummage sale with piles and piles of stuff. I don't pull out every item on a rack or in a pile, but look for colors or fabrics I like and focus in on those. Some of my friends have tried to shop in thrift stores and gotten completely overwhelmed and not enjoyed it.

Unknown said...

Been shopping in thrift stores(as we call them out west)since the I can remember.Some are nicer and more organized than others,but you pay for it,generally.Many gems are found in piles of crap,for one willing to look.To me buying secondhand online seems a little odd.

Anonymous said...

I love a rummage. A good old rummage more frequently turns up the gems that others couldn't be bothered with patience to sift through. But at the end the day I am the eternal bargain hunter searching for a find high and low. I'll take it however it comes a rummage, a garage sale, a market, an op shop well organised or not, heck even the tip shop.

Iliska Dreams said...

I love all. Vintage shops I walk around in lust, but cannot afford to buy. But every where else... why not find something that no one loves any more into something amazing!

Unknown said...

I love a rummage and a bargain hunt too. I feel uncomfortable if things don't have prices or I have to bargain though. This means I often won't buy if there is no price, rather than ask.

A Life Un-Styled said...

I have to be in the mood to walk into an op shop. Shopping frustrates me, and I much prefer online shopping. Etsy is a huge favorite for vintage shopping but when the mood does strike there really is nothing better than browsing through an actual vintage store :)

Karen C said...

I also love the thrill of the hunt. As for where I prefer to do it...etsy and vintage shops are my least favorite, because they are so much more expensive. With a little searching, which I enjoy, I can find the same items for a MUCH lower price. Win-win.

Spanish Muse said...

Rummage. It's more rewarding and victorious when you had to work at it to find that one special piece.

Great post!


Op shopping for me is part of the fabric of my life. I actually spend more time in Op Shops than what I do in the supermarket(I hate grocery shopping). My favourites are the small special interest group Op Shops such as churches, Parents Without Partners etc etc. The best finds are when you rummage and having done this all my adult life, you become very organised. It is almost like I am on a mission and I can block out what I don't want. Sometimes I find too much of what I want such as a time that I found boxes and boxes of old(but not vintage) pastel cotton spools. Yes I wanted to buy them all but storage and price were big considerations, so I picked a few and walked away from the rest. I guess that because I am generally looking for the unusual, quirky or retro, it is easy to bypass the bulk of the stuff which is contemporary and mainstream. Many years ago you would talk about Op Shops in hushed tones as it was not socially acceptable to shop there. Most of my retro treasures come from that era. Give me the choice of a major department store or an Op Shop.....and I will choose an Op Shop every time.

Peta said...

i love the thrill of a good rummage and also love garage sales on a saturday morning. I do find that I have to be in the 'right' mood though to really search.

Anonymous said...

I love unusual and interesting pieces and like most thrifters I enjoy the thrill of a good rummage!

Eve said...

I love rummaging through opshops or markets looking for the diamond in the rough. It makes it more exciting when you find something amazing.

x Eve

Laura said...

Op shops will always be my number one.

I don't dislike garage sales and car boot sales etc (although I agree on the point about making awkward small talk!), I just rarely get to them.

I think I prefer op shops because they vary so much. An item that might be $5 in one could be $20 in another! And the hunt for it is definitely the best part. It's so much fun and you get such a high from finding something fabulous!

To be honest, it makes retail shopping feel boring!

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